The House Intelligence Committee wrapped up its months-long investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election this week, releasing its bombshell conclusion that there had been no collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow.
That was news enough for one day, but according to reporter Sara Carter – one of the sharpest journalists on the beat today – that wasn’t the only bit of interesting information stemming from the investigation.
Carter reported Tuesday that House investigators finally answered a lingering question hanging in the air since last January: Who told the press that Obama and Trump had been briefed on the Steele dossier? How did that leak out to the media?
And now we know.
“Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper allegedly leaked information to CNN early last year regarding the classified briefings given to then President-Elect Donald Trump and President Barrack Obama on the salacious dossier claiming the Russians had compromising information on the president-elect, according to government sources, who noted the evidence of the leak was collected during the House Intelligence Committee’s Russia investigation,” reports Carter.
“Clapper, who was one of four senior Obama administration officials to attend the briefing with the presidents, also stated his ‘profound dismay at the leaks’ in an official statement issued in January, 2017 and warned that the leaks were ‘extremely corrosive and damaging’ to national security, according to his press release,” Carter notes.
In other words, Clapper leaked the briefing to CNN and then turned around and issued a press release condemning the leaks. But no, this is a guy we’re supposed to take totally seriously when he goes on CNN to talk about Trump being in bed with the Russians. He’s not a partisan windbag at all. Totally above board. Mmhmm.
It’s impossible to overstate the effect that this leak had. Before CNN reported on the briefing, no one had ever heard of this mysterious Russian dossier. Within a few days, it had been reported on by every major news media outlet and published in its entirety by BuzzFeed News. Containing plenty of salacious (yet utterly unverified) details, it turned the narrative of “Trump and Russia” from something Hillary Clinton was just using as an excuse into an actual, real thing for millions of Americans who couldn’t see through the charade.
Even to this day, of course, the dossier – as far as we can tell – continues to justify the work of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, even though intelligence experts have yet to corroborate one sentence of its contents.